In her first live TV appearance for her book tour, Hillary Clinton tried to make sense of “What Happened” during the 2016 presidential election that caused her to lose, and said former FBI Director James Comey carries some of the blame.
“I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did,” she said to Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today Show,” of Comey’s decision to bring up her email server again in late October of last year.
Clinton told the hosts that his intervention played a major role in ultimately costing her the election.
“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey on October 28,” she said. “It stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me, who understandably this is not about the voters, who were saying ‘Well, wait what does this mean and how do I evaluate it?’ And so I think that in terms of my personal defeat was the most important factor.”
“I was just dumbfounded,” by Comey’s actions, the former Democratic candidate added, claiming he “went way beyond his role.”
Clinton made similar comments in her book, “What Happened. “Comey made a choice to excoriate me in public in July and then dramatically reopen the investigation on October 28, all while refusing to say a word about Trump and Russia,” Clinton wrote. “If not for those decisions, everything would have been different. Comey himself later said he was ‘mildly nauseous’ at the idea that he influenced the outcome of the election. Hearing that made me sick.”
Comey isn’t the only one that Clinton comes for in her new memoir — her primary opponent Bernie Sanders is another one she finds ink to rib; so is Matt Lauer. She criticized his questioning of her during NBC’s “Commander in Chief” forum last year, where he, too, brought up those emails.
“Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush,” she wrote. “What a waste of time. I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about shaking some sense into Lauer while I was out there.”
Lauer brought up the criticism in the spirit of “full disclosure,” but hinted at previous criticisms toward the former secretary of state in an interview question about her candor in the book. “People saying you’ve taken your political straitjacket,” he said.
Clinton said that her book acted as both a “historic document” and a “literary version of a cleanse.”
“What Happened” is available for purchase now.